Helen's Hungarian Heritage Recipes

Helen's Hungarian Heritage Recipes
Chef Ilona Szabo Reveals The Secrets of Hungarian Cooking

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hungry for Hungary - Mother-daughter team create new cookbook

Brantford Expositor- Hungry for Hungary

Clara Czegeny & Chef Helen Czegeny (Ilona Szabó)

Local News - November 22, 2008 - Brantford Expositor
Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Hungry for Hungary

Mother-daughter team create new cookbook


Do you crave cabbage rolls, drool over dumplings or get all atwitter about torte?

Recipes for these favourites and more than 300 others are included in the latest 312-page edition of Helen's Hungarian Heritage Recipes.

The cookbook, based on the culinary magic of Helen Czegeny, of Brantford, is self-published by her daughter Clara Czegeny, of Paris.

The bulked-up fourth edition of the Hungarian cookbook debuted this summer, bursting with 325 recipes from the sublimely elegant Dobos Torte to the sublimely simple cabbage noodles.

The Czegenys will be at Coles at Lynden Park Mall on Saturday for a Taste and Sign from 1 p. m. to 3 p. m. where samples of goulash will be available as well as signed copies of the cookbook.

Nearly 3,000 copies of the cookbook have been sold since its first printing two years ago.

"I never dreamed something would come of it," said Helen, who remains amazed at the constant demand for the recipes she simply kept in her head.

Along with hundreds of mouth-watering recipes, the updated and expanded edition includes trivia, anecdotes, memories and traditions penned by Clara.

Recipes in the final chapter, Passport to International Fare, are a tribute to Helen's culinary talents in preparing classics and favourites from other lands.

Cooking is as natural to Helen as breathing.


Now 82, she has been cooking since she was 12 when she began working for her great-aunt in the village of Hajduhadhaz, Hungary.

Helen and her husband, Alex, slipped out of Hungary in 1947 and went to Sweden, where they lived and worked on farms, until 1953 when they immigrated to Canada.

Her husband worked mostly at Massey Ferguson, but the family spent some years as tobacco sharecroppers in the Oakland, Scotland and Mount Pleasant area. Helen's hearty cooking was a natural hit with hard-working tobacco labourers at harvest time. The Czegenys returned to Brantford in 1963.

The cookbook was Clara's brainchild and originally was printed as a keepsake for family members in celebration of Helen's 80th birthday in 2006.

Everyone in the family was astounded and delighted when the book began to take off and requests for copies began pouring in, Clara said.

The self-publishing route has worked out well, Clara said, adding that maintaining control over the venture is important to her.

"This is fun and I want it to stay fun," she said. Still, putting together a cookbook is no cakewalk.

Helen prepared her recipes from memory. The ingredients, amounts and instructions were recorded and the results taste-tested. Recipes were fine-tuned if needed and then prepared again.

Somewhat challenging was the conversion of Helen's pinch-of-this and handful-of-that ingredients into proper cookbook measurements, Clara said.

Many a midnight was passed in the kitchen conducting taste tests, she said.

For ordering information, visit www.helenshungarianrecipes.com

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